I have a strange affinity for capers. I love their briney, tart taste and when cooking with them I often leave a handful out to just nibble on while dinner simmers. My husband, on the other hand, is not at all keen on these little green buds, so he pushes them to the side whenever he sees them in his dish.
I'm pretty sure most people have seen or eaten capers before, but just in case you were curious to know: Capers are the unripened flower buds of Capparis Spinosa, a perennial plant that is native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Once harvested, the buds are dried in the sun, then pickled in vinegar, brine or salt. According to sources, the caper was used in Ancient Greece as a carminative. Etymologically, the caper and different versions of the word in several European languages can be traced back to the Latin capparis, still some say that that term is in turn borrowed from the Greek κάππαρις. Another theory I read of, links κάππαρις/kápparis to the name of the island of Cyprus (Κύπρος, Kýpros), where capers grow abundantly.
Capers pair well with fish and chicken but I've also used them in a great parsley sauce over a simply roasted cut of beef ... and the results were divine. But I'll save that dish for a later date.
Today, I'm focusing on this chicken dish. I simply took some whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick attached), dressed them with a lime and caper marinade, then roasted them to perfection. On the side I served a pilaf of rice and Greek Fide (nests of thin pasta--i.e. vermicelli) that I infused with lime.
Kotopoulo Me Kappari --
Chicken Roasted with Capers
4 whole chicken legs, skin on
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons capers
2 garlic cloves, minced
Hefty pinch of dried Greek oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place in a roasting pan.
Whisk together the lime juice, capers, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and then slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Once well combined, pour over the chicken legs and allow the chicken to sit in the marinade for about half hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spoon the sauce over the chicken; add a little water to the roasting pan if necessary; and place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden.
Serve sprinkled with parsley alongside the Rice-Fide Pilaf with some extra sauce from the pan poured on top.
In a medium saucepan, heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. Add a handful of Fide (breaking it up with your fingers as you add it to the pan). Saute the Fide until golden and nutty; quickly toss in about 1 1/2 cups rice and give it a good stir. Add about 3 cups of water, plenty of salt and some freshly ground pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Before covering, add a lime half (which you've already squeezed for your chicken marinade); cover the saucepan; reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and after a couple of minutes stir the pilaf and serve.